When it comes to awesome effective workouts, one of our go-to gals who always BRINGS IT is Sara Haley. We know that we can always count on Sara to give us a sweat session that delivers results, makes us feel awesome and strong — and doesn’t take up our entire day. Which is exactly why we’re pumped to share her Belly Blaster Workout with you today. This 20-minute no-equipment-needed workout alternates strength and cardio moves to get you moving, sweating and feeling the burn. You may not be able to spot train — but you can make your entire core stronger, which is exactly what this Belly Blaster Workout is about. Oh, and, there are no crunches involved. (Can we get a hallelujah for that?!) Now, grab a towel, some water and let’s do this! —Jenn
Belly Blaster Workout By Sara Haley
I don’t think there is anything I hear ladies complain more about than their bellies (especially for moms — after all, it is the area that was affected most by our pregnancies, inside out!). The key to truly seeing results in this area is a combination of cardio and core work, so I put together some of my most effective crunch-free exercises to create this Belly Blaster Workout — just for you!
You don’t need any equipment for these exercises, but you will need a stop watch (I just use the one on my iPhone). Start the clock, and every 30 seconds you will be changing your exercise (with the exception of knee repeaters — you do 30 seconds on each leg), alternating from a strength core move to a cardio core move. Your round will be a total of 4:30 minutes in length. Rest for 30 seconds (or more if needed), and then repeat three more times for a 20-minute workout, if you have the time. Remember SOMETHING is always better than NOTHING, so if you only have time for one round, do that!
The exercise descriptions are listed below, along with modifications. (Because, yeah, there’s no shame in modifying!)
Dead Bug: This exercise is going to warm up and activate your deepest core muscles. Lie on your back with your arms in line with your shoulders and your legs in a tabletop position (knees in line with hips). Flex your feet as if you are pushing something away with your feet. Hold for 30 seconds. If you feel you need more of a challenge, take your knees out a little bit from your hips. Make sure you are NOT holding your breath as you hold. You need to be able to breathe through the exercise.
Modification: Put one foot on the ground and keep the other at tabletop.
High-Knee Runs: Lift one knee at a time like you are going for a run. Bring your knees as close to your chest as possible, so that you get a nice contraction in your abdominals. Pump your arms as you run in place.
Modification: March in place with high knees.
Moving Crawl: Begin in a crawl position with your hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. The shoulders are down away from the ears and the abs are tight. Think of pulling your navel to your spine and tightening up your abs throughout the exercise. Your toes are tucked underneath. From this position, begin moving around the room. Try moving right hand with left leg, followed by left hand with right leg (just like walking).
Modification: If this is too much, just hold the crawl position.
Knee Repeaters: Split your legs so you are in a long lunge. Keeping your knee over your ankle on supporting leg, get as low as you can. Bring your back leg into chest and swing your arms across chest. You should feel a slight twist in the torso and a burn in your glute (butt cheek) of the supporting leg. Repeat this motion aggressively, until it’s time to do the other side. Keep in mind you also do this exercise for 30 seconds on EACH leg.
Modification: If this bothers your knees, do not go as deep into the lunge.
Squat ‘N Plank: From plank position, jump your feet into a sumo squat position. Keep your chest lifted as much as possible. Then jump your feet back to plank.
Modification: Walk your feet into your squat one foot at a time and back out to plank one foot a time. You can also do this from a plank position on the knees.
Praying Mantis Runs: Rotate out from the hips so that when you run in place your knees are coming out towards the corners of the room, like a praying mantis. Keep your hands up open up your chest and bring your elbow toward your knee by laterally bending at the waist. This move will most likely make you feel awkward, and you will want to laugh (so laugh!).
Modification: Lift one knee at a time as you bring your elbow towards our knee, so you are marching instead of running.
Seated Twist: Sit straight up with our knees bent in front of you and your feet flexed. Keep your core engaged and lean back slightly and lift your feet up off the floor. Interlace your fingers so your elbows are out. Alternate twisting to one side, allowing your outside elbow to lower to the ground.
Modification: Keep your feet on the floor.
Burpees: This is one of the best full-body movements you can do that also works the core. Squat down with your hands in front of your feet. Walk or jump back into a plank and lower yourself to the floor. Once your chest touches the floor, walk or jump your feet back to the squat. Stand back up or push off into a light jump.
Modification: Just go out to a plank rather than lowering your chest to the floor.
I think you will find this Belly Blaster Workout challenging with big results. If you want more exercises like these, be sure to sign up at SayNOToCrunches.com for an entire 28-day free workout. —Sara Haley